When bad things come our way, we naturally respond with frustration and sadness, and even grief. We desire to change our circumstances and make life work the way we think it should or at least the way we wish it would. However, God is able to take the bad and bring from it good, and He often does. In this section of the Book of Acts we find many good results that come for the martyrdom of Stephen.
Most people find the idea of God guiding them challenging to understand and even more frustrating to live by. Our experience seems to reveal that God doesn’t provide much help at all in the area of guidance. But, in the story of Peter’s account of taking the Good News of Jesus to Cornelius, we find several clues into how God guides us.
When Jesus came into the world, it was to rescue all of humanity, not just the people of Israel. In the concluding portion of the story of Peter and Cornelius, Peter explains the Good news about Jesus. What we discover is that God’s intention is for everyone to experience peace with Him, healing from Satan’s devastating influence over creation, and ultimately God’s presence with them now and forever. And, this all happens when a person puts trust in Jesus.
We all have beliefs about God, ourselves and the world around us. And, these beliefs control our thoughts and our behaviors. However, when these beliefs are wrong, they can cause us to move away from God, instead of following Him. Jesus was continually challenging the beliefs of the disciples. In this story, the Lord, once again, challenges one of Peter’s most deeply held beliefs—that only Israel can be accepted by God.
God gives an invitation to all people to draw near to Him, but what does that really look like? In the story of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion stationed at Caesarea, we get a picture of a very unlikely man who drew near to God. When He did, God began to help him draw closer, and the result was the Good News of Jesus moving into the Western world.
One of the most obvious aspects of life in Jesus that is taught in the Bible is that those who know Jesus should help other people. But, sometimes that can be very confusing—we fall into helping out of guilt or pride or simple religious obligation and duty. When Peter raises a woman named Tabitha from the dead, we get a picture of how we can go about helping others that God brings our way.
Everyone would like to be successful in life. For most people, success means that we have the kind of life we desire and become the kind person we hope to be. But so often our hopes and desires are crushed by something (or someone) that’s beyond our control, and it seems that we will never see them fulfilled. The good news is…Jesus can change things!
It’s very common for people to fear being alone. We can be afraid of our own thoughts, or not having companionship, or even of not having constant distraction…
Saul of Tarsus was completely transformed from the driving force behind the persecution of Church in Jerusalem to the messenger (apostle) who took the Good News of Jesus Christ to the ends of the Western world. Saul’s life-transformation was not an emotional or intellectual decision he made, but a response to his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. This encounter would change his life forever…it made all the difference.
What would cause a person who is a rising star among the party of the Pharisees, and therefore a fierce enemy of Jesus Christ to then become a great Allie for Christianity?